If you follow food trends at all, you know that turmeric has been on the hot-and-happening-food lists for a while now. Soon enough, it won’t be a trend at all but an accepted food in the consciousness of chefs, diners, and juicers. Now that fresh turmeric is becoming widely available, I’d like to suggest that another trend to come is a rise in Thai yellow Curry dishes.
Turmeric Plus Lime
This Thai yellow curry is perfect for the season of citrus, since this is the time when exotica like Makrut limes are available, too. I’m using the term Makrut in place of the term Kaffir, which we should all stop using. The limes have been called Kaffir for many years, probably named after the Kaffir people of Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, in the ensuing years, Kaffir came to be used as a racial slur in other parts of the world, so there’s a movement to switch the terminology. Basically, we shouldn’t be using a term that is equivalent to the “n-word” to refer to a fruit and its leaves.
Thai Curries Are Easy
Red and green Thai curries have replaced hummus and veggie lasagna as the token vegetarian dish on many restaurant menus. It’s a great solution, really, the curries are easy to make, keep well, and can cover all your special needs diners by being vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and if served over black or brown rice, whole grain.
Generally speaking, red curry is medium- hot, while green is hotter, and both are from Central Thailand. There are many variations on curry paste, from the more Indian-spiced Massaman curry to the Pananag and Jungle Curries. Thai yellow curry is not as hot, making it very accessible, even to Minnesota palates!
The makrut lime is a wonderfully fragrant, intensely flavorful ingredient. I like to simmer the peel in the curry over low heat, so the oils from the peel can really infuse the coconut milk. It is reminiscent of citronella, but in a good way. I used Mae Ploy brand Thai yellow curry paste, which I made a trip to the Asian store to get. It’s reliably vegetarian, and the ingredients are: garlic, lemongrass, shallot, dried red chile, salt, galanga, cumin, cinnamon, star anise, turmeric, kaffir lime peel and coriander seed.
Curry pastes keep for months in the refrigerator, so go ahead and stock up.
Thai yellow curry is often made with potatoes, so I subbed in sweet potatoes. They give the dish enough sweetness that you don’t need to add any, and are just a little bit more colorful.
I found these gorgeous black rice noodles, which are made with Forbidden Rice. They are as tasty as they are good looking. If you want to sub some other noodle, anything from a regular rice noodle to a whole wheat linguine would be perfect.
So look for these wrinkly, lumpy limes where you shop, and simmer them with turmeric for a timely, healthy dish.
Thai yellow curry should soon be as common as spaghetti and red sauce!
Yellow Curry Tofu with Makrut Lime and Black Rice Noodles
- 1 block extra firm tofu drained
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh turmeric
- 1 tablespoon yellow curry paste
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large makrut lime zest pared off in a strip
- 1 cups vegetable stock
- 2 cups cubed sweet potatoes
- 1 large jalapeno chopped
- 1 teaspoon canola or coconut oil
- 4 ounces fresh shiitakes slivered
- cilantro and scallions for garnish
- 8 ounces black rice noodles
- Drain the tofu and wrap in a towel, press lightly to extract water, then cube and reserve.
- In a large saute pan, heat the coconut cream over medium-high heat and add the turmeric and curry paste. Stir until it comes to a boil. Add the salt and lime zest and stir in the vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and cook for at least five minutes, adding water or more stock if it gets too thick.
- Add the sweet potato and jalapeno and stir, when it boils, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 8 minutes, until the sweet potato cubes are tender when pierced with a knife. Fold in the tofu and simmer gently until thick.
- In another pan, heat the oil over high heat and sear the mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until browned and shrunken. Keep warm.
- Cook the noodles according to package directions. Serve curry topped with shiitakes, cilantro and scallions.